BUTTE - Butte wants to pump in more from Silver Lake about 40 miles away into Butte’s creeks to increase their flows and make them healthier.
“An insufficient amount of water is not good for the fishery, it’s not good for the critters that live in the water and so you want to maintain a flow of water at all times,” said Butte Superfund Coordinator Jon Sesso.
The Butte mining operation Montana Resources has agreed to purchase an additional 4 million gallons of water from Butte to pump from Silver Lake to deliver cold, clean water to Silver Bow Creek and Blacktail Creek.
“Without disrupting any of our existing customers and without disrupting our opportunity to solicit new customers,” said Sesso.
Montana Resources already pays the city up to 3 million gallons from Silver Lake.
“Silver Lake system is owned by Butte and its citizens and we just want to make sure that Butte gets its cut of the water first,” said Mark Thompson of Montana Resources.
Once the cleanup work is completed along Silver Bow Creek over the next five years, Montana Resources would have the option of changing where it pumps in the water to the creek.
“At some point once the corridor gets cleaned up under the priority soils remedy and everybody’s comfortable with the discharge at Texas Avenue, this agreement is a stepping stone to being able to have enough water to do that at some point in the future,” said Sesso.